Cybercrime Rapidly Rising as More People Work from Home

August 21, 2020 - 4 minutes read

Cybercrime was already in problem in Australia, but it’s become considerably worse with the pandemic. Read what’s changed and what you can do to protect your church

Technology has made it possible for many of us to work remotely during the pandemic. This shift has been very beneficial in many ways – such as where organisations get to stay open and workers get to keep their jobs.

One of the downsides however is that the suddenness of this shift has left many organisations more vulnerable to cybercrime than ever. This has largely been due to a lack of preparedness for such a change and to patchy approaches to online security.

Reports from various agencies and researchers show that digital crime has risen dramatically, as cyber criminals have sought to take advantage of vulnerable home-based networks.

Some facts and stats

Research by Forrester Consulting into the impact of COVID-19 on Australian businesses revealed the following:

  • Working from home increased from 16% pre-COVID19 to 68% at the peak of the pandemic.
  • Many businesses responded to the shift by ‘patching holes’ in their online security – which is unlikely to be adequate in the long-term.
  • 42% of businesses anticipate maintaining some degree of remote work on a permanent basis.
  • Many organisations have unwittingly increased their online vulnerability by signing up for free tools and apps that lack security.
  • There has been a rapid rise in cybercrime – including a 600% increase in global phishing and malware attacks.
  • 32% of security decision makers within organisations believe that employee use of mobile devices has increased cyber risk.
  • Only just over half of businesses feel their continuity plans are equipped to deal with cyber-attacks.

The federal government has responded by releasing its ‘Cyber Security Strategy 2020’.

The Strategy is designed to create a more secure online environment and is backed by a $1.67bn investment over ten years. It includes investigating new ways to shut-down cybercrime, providing guidance and advice to Australian businesses on online security, and the creation of a 24-hour hotline for cyber security advice.

Seeking out cyber risk management solutions

Based on the Forrester report, Telstra has made several recommendations for organisations to improve remote work online security. This includes:

  • Addressing and investing in IT security as a priority.
  • Training employees in cyber security at home, both on personal and work-related levels. This includes running phishing simulation ‘drills’ as a training tool.
  • Making use of VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) as a temporary measure, and also investing in Zero Trust Networks in the longer term for greater security.
  • Using security measures such as two-factor authentication and strong passwords to reduce the risk of breaches and fraud.
  • Building a reliable security foundation for personal device use, by not allowing unmanaged devices on business networks.
  • Updating continuity plans to better prepare your organisation for addressing cyberattack risk.

You should also keep abreast of current online scams. Our previous post on COVID19 online scams has more information on this.

Cyber insurance

Insurance cover for cyber risk is always important, but possibly even more so with remote work. It’s important to keep up your cyber insurance cover at this time in case of losses due to cyberattacks and e-crimes. Get in touch if you would like to discuss your policy.

Helpful links:

CCI – all articles on cyber security
Telstra – recommendations for securing a hybrid workforce
Business Victoria – cyber tips for remote working

Written by Tess

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